You Can Never Have Just One

I must be a glutton for punishment and I’m thinking I might just be okay with it. As some of you may remember, when we were in North Carolina, one of the things Adelle wanted to do was get a tattoo together, but we just didn’t have enough time and on the one day we had some time, everything was closed. Her first tattoo was meant to be the “together” tattoo, but we went to a pretty exclusive artist who had a wait list and I didn’t have the money to do the tattoo that we both wanted for her and me, so of course I picked her; it was her birthday, after all (our birthdays are only two weeks apart, so technically it was mine too, but 18 is a milestone; 38 isn’t).

We ended up getting “almost” the same thing on our first tattoos, but it wasn’t exactly the same since I decided mine was my tattoo for all three of my kids so I added flowers for both my boys. If you missed it, you can read about both of them here.

Tonight was just straight up fun. And we ended up getting exactly the same thing, just in different places.  One artist drew it and tattooed her and a different artist tattooed mine at the same time. The funny part was, she started first but I finished first. Her artist actually said “I didn’t realize it was a race.”

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It’s the Libra symbol. I think it’s fun to have just a small, simple tattoo and I’ve always wanted a tattoo on my ankle. Adelle ended up putting hers under her neck at the top of her back. I think we both have a pretty awesome addition to our tattoo library. Is that a thing? I’m thinking it should be called something else, but I’m tired and there was some pain (although I’ll take thirty minutes over three two hour sessions any day).

We only have a few days left before she flies away again. It’s been so great having her here for the holidays. Even though she doesn’t stay with me, it’s nice having her only three miles away as compared to two thousand miles away. And having moments like tonight where we share something together, like getting the same tattoo, is truly special.

Brought to you as part of Just Jot It January. Truly just a small jot today as it’s getting late and my brain doesn’t want to put words on paper in a creative way.

JJJ 2015

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Finished Tattoo

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember this post where I talked about my tattoo and the meaning behind it. I also included pictures of the not quite finished product.  I was pretty bummed it was only half done and that I had to wait two whole months before the next appointment.  I can’t tell you how fast the last two months have flown by.  And September is almost over!

Anyway, tonight, I finally had it finished.  I have to say that I am absolutely and without a doubt in love with it!  I don’t have much else to say, but I wanted to share the picture so you can all see the finished product.  I’m not sure this picture quite does it justice, but it gets the point across.

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Now, I’m off to relax because it hurts like hell and is making a mess. (After-care is a pain in the ass for those of you who don’t have a tattoo)

I will tell you to sit tight, though, because I have an almost finished story that I’ll be posting in the next few days.  It’s been a while since I posted one and I was missing the creative juices and the feel of a story pushing its words around inside my head.

I hope you all have a fabulous evening!

The Art of My Tattoo

This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt was to basically write what you wanted, but you had to end it with a question.  If you happened to get an exclamation point in there, even better; I think I have 3 (I like them far too much and I usually have to delete most of them when I write blog posts).  Once again, what I started out to write morphed into something else entirely, but I’m not sad about it.  It’s one of my favorite stories and I love telling it.  I hope you enjoy, even if you don’t like tattoos all that much.

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As yesterday was tattoo day for me, my mind has been on tattoos and what they mean and how they affect you.  Perhaps not as much as when I first got the outline two months ago, but it’s still something I’m thinking about.  I’ve wanted to get a tattoo for many years now, but it was always out of my financial reach (those suckers are not cheap!) and I wanted to find that thing that I wanted to live with for the rest of my life; something that meant something and wasn’t just “a thing” to put on my body.  Everyone is different.  Not everyone needs their tattoo to mean something and some people have just offered up their body as a canvas for art in whatever form.  I’m not here to judge anyone.  I believe tattoos are art and I think it is another form of self-expression that… let’s just say I think it’s ridiculous that society has such shitty labels for tattooed people.

For me, it was finding just the right thing and my daughter is the one who came up with the idea and we have pretty similar tattoos.

To start at the beginning, I read a children’s book to Adelle when she was young.  It was a gift for either when she was born or one of her birthdays.  In between moving several times and the numerous cleanings and thrift runs to minimize the stuff in her room, the book was lost.  Years later, my son came home from school and told me his teacher had asked parents to volunteer to read their favorite children’s story to their class and talk about reading and their favorite books.  I just had to to it.  I love books and reading (obviously).

I remembered the book I read to Adelle, only I couldn’t remember the name of it or the author.  The only thing I could remember was it had something to do with love and a baby growing up.  I went to the bookstore with very little hope of finding this book, but I thought I would give it a try.  I walked to the back and found all their children’s books in a huge book shelf at least six shelves high and I just started scanning the titles.  I picked a few out and put them back.  On the very last shelf I actually found it!

Love You Forever

I’ve heard mixed reviews of this book, but I happen to love it.  I think – well, I’m not here to give a review of the book.  Needless to say I bought it and took it home.  When the kids got home from school, we were all sitting around in the living room just talking and hanging out when I remembered.

I said, “Adelle, do you remember that book I read to you when you were younger?”

She looked at me, “I don’t know…”

I reached down and pulled out the book.

Then she did this thing that still melts my heart when I think about it.  She leaped in the air, grabbed the book, “I love this book!”  She looked up at me, holding the book with something close to reverence.  “Mommy, will you read it to us, please?”

I had tears in my eyes when I took the book from her.  She literally leaned over the couch arm, put her chin on her arms and proceeded to listen intently.  Both of my boys were there and they also joined in and I proceeded to open the book and turn it around so they could see the pictures while I read them my favorite children’s book and cried through most of it.  It’s one of those special moments that will always hold a place in my heart.  They were ages 16, 12 and 8 at the time but they still listened to that story like they were two and I was reading them a story as they were falling asleep.

Adelle came up with the tattoo idea perhaps a year later.  She wanted to have the words from the book and her birth month flower.  As soon as I heard it, I knew that’s what I wanted too.  Originally, I was going to get the exact same tattoo as her since we were born in the same month.

Adelle's Tattoo

But, after thinking about it, I decided this was my tattoo that represented my kids, so I incorporated my boys birth month flowers as well.  I also decided their flower’s should be their favorite colors.  I know that changes, but honestly, their colors haven’t changed much in the past five years or so.  And even if they do, it was their favorite color as a child, so I think it works for what I’m going for.

My Tattoo

I was more than sad that we couldn’t finish it yesterday, but seeing it mostly finished, I am beyond blown away at how beautiful it is.  I love it more than I can say and every time I look at it, I think of my children (not that I need a reason to think of them).

I know I’ve seen this question somewhere in the blogosphere, but what children’s book would you tattoo on your body?  If you don’t like that question, maybe just answer, what is your favorite children’s book?

The Aftermath of Life’s Gut Punch

That thing called life?  Yeah, it went and gut punched me again yesterday.  And while I’m grateful it was just a gut punch and didn’t turn into a full-on battle to the death that left me bleeding on a cold stone floor, it still shook me.  I keep telling myself I shouldn’t be this shaken; that, thank the Universe everything turned out to be okay, or at least manageable.  But then you start to realize where your thoughts have traveled… they’ve ventured down the treacherous “what if” road. They’ve actually created a whole new reality simply by thinking them, and you feel those feelings and drown in them almost as if the “what if” event had truly happened.

It makes me wonder why we do this to ourselves because I know I’m not the only one who travels this insidious path.  Isn’t it enough that everything was okay?  No, now I have to go and wonder what might have happened if this or that or…

Picking up the pieces of my shattered serenity, I am pretty much back to the same place I found myself yesterday morning, only now things are slightly different.

First, I am going to have my tattoo colored in by myself tomorrow.  Which isn’t such a big thing, but it was that thing my sister and I had planned to do together and we were going to see it through to the end.  But since she won’t be able to finish hers for quite some time, I’m going to go and have mine done and hopefully I will be with her when she is able to finish hers.

Second, I might just be doing Tough Mudder by myself.  If not the whole thing, I will most likely be the only one who tries each obstacle, which is pretty ridiculous when you look back and realize that I was the one who said “NO WAY” when the idea was first proposed.  I’m still hoping we can all at least attempt it, but I’m thinking it is still up in the air at this point.  The training is also going to be a solo endeavor for the next little while and I’m not sure I’m okay with that!  I mean, who else is going to spur me to post better running times?  Who else is going to motivate me to do cross-training on my off-running days?  (This is where I think I’ve put far too much on my sister and I need to start looking at what I can do to motivate myself since she is obviously floundering under the weight of my neediness [too soon for the joking?… I apologize]).

So, there you have it.

Without really saying anything I have managed to let you know the state of my mind and how the next few months look.  How plans can go from concrete, set-in-stone laws to whimsical cloud fluff that could disappear at any moment – or at least change to something else entirely more whimsical and airy than what they were before.

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.  Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.  Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

 -Eckhart Tolle

Each day I am more fully convinced that Eckhart Tolle is brilliant.

There is no past; there is no future; there is no made-up event that might have happened but didn’t actually happen. There is only now.

My sister is here now and she is smiling and happy and alive.

NOW is the BEST place to be!

Rising Free

Another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction challenge.  When I read it on Friday morning, I laughed out loud because it was too perfect.  My sister and I had an appointment to get tattoos on Friday at noon and she was planning on getting a Phoenix.  It’s pretty literal, I suppose, but her tattoo was forefront in my head and the words just sort-of happened.  For those that read my blog and don’t like the “bad” words, this one has some, so read at your own risk.

I give you 990 words on the Phoenix – dedicated to my sister and her rather fabulous tattoo.

Rising Free

The buzzing vibration settles onto my leg and I feel the first bite of the needle as it pierces my skin. Inwardly shaking, my body tenses, waiting for the scratching pain that doesn’t disappoint. Taking deep breaths, I close my eyes and settle into the pulsating, jagged rhythm. Strange to think I worked for this small torturous moment, that I deserve it somehow.

I have played so many roles; some of them lovingly, some of them in resentment, pain and fear. They are all different parts of me, and they have defined me and brought me to this moment whether I wanted them to or not.

Dutiful child, so right, so good; never disappointing Daddy. That was, of course, until I finally did. I sit here happily, knowing this moment will piss him off and not giving a fuck.

Religious zealot found roots in dutiful child and blossomed into, what is the term? Goody Two-shoes? Yeah, that was me. Literally killing myself doing the right thing and in turn sharing my beliefs with others. I’m not sure when my spiritual beliefs changed, but they did.  Thank you God, or Gods, or Goddess… who even knows?

I was the unharmed one, the one he didn’t touch; watching as everyone else received help and support while I was left to my own devices. That is, until he changed the story and I became just as fucked as the rest. That dizzying moment when you realize… are there even any words to describe that kind of betrayal and loss of innocence? I haven’t found any.

I am a mother, of course, to two kick-ass children. I gave everything in my role as stay-at-home Mom and army wife, playing both Mom and Dad when he was gone. My life revolved around them, day in, day out. Until, one day it dawned on me that they had grown and I didn’t know my role anymore.

I am and have always been a loving wife. To this day, I do not know how we survived. There were the long absences, my doubts and my struggle to find self-worth. I look down at our hands molded together and I squeeze as the needle etches lines into my skin.

I have been through hell and back and the story is taking shape on my thigh, transforming into the beautiful creature that has appeared to me in visions multiple times, almost screaming for her place in my world; a chance to become real. The flow of ink across my skin becomes the line of each individual feather and I trace each one with my eyes, anxiously anticipating the finished masterpiece. I take my time, watching the needle scratch and claw its way across my delicate skin.

The creature flowed into my dreams a few years ago and slowly made her way into my waking moments. She needs life; needs to take shape. As I continue to watch, the vision slowly takes hold again and I see the creature coming to life before me, slowly rising off my leg. I don’t know how it happens, but I begin to know her thoughts as she knows mine and I see what she sees, looking through glistening, cerulean eyes. She wants freedom to glide across the heavens in wild abandon.

Converged, we seek the sky, tracing the path of our inevitable flight into beyond. I lift my arms only to find they are no longer arms. Wings unfurl, feathers shivering with sizzling energy. I glance down for a moment and I gasp in awe, blinded by my vivid, red-gold coloring. I watch my tail feathers sweep the ashes beneath, raising a silvery cloud that billows and swirls around me as I lift off.

I take flight, soaring into the brilliant blue, fluffy white vapor softly caressing my upward journey. I rise up and up and find bliss in weightless recognition. I still play every single role, only now, it’s changed. I’m changed. I may not have chosen all of them, but I now choose how they’re played – in loving acceptance.

I am Daddy’s Daughter.  He can choose to embrace me anytime, as long as he chooses me, not the daughter he thinks I should be.

I am Spiritual. Life is a constant journey and I find security in uncertainty, my place firmly cemented in the energetic vibrant universe as it slowly turns, changing and morphing, yet staying altogether the same.

I am Harmed. I realize this will never really go away, but I choose to embrace the parts that were abused and broken knowing there is no safer place in the world than the love surrounding me, healing me daily.

I am Mother. I love and support their growth and change, and they are now supporting and loving mine. I am no longer everything to them and I am learning to accept that they are no longer the driving force in my day to day. They taught me to look for me because they couldn’t be everything to me, not forever.

I am Wife. I know that I don’t need to sacrifice myself to be what he needs. I love him and I find comfort in knowing he loves me still, he loves me anyway, despite and because. He’s my rock, my biggest supporter and best friend.

Blinking my eyes, the vision fades dramatically. There is no soft glazing over and gentle landing. No, I flounder and fall, crashing unceremoniously back into the moment. Feeling my body jerk, I glance down anxiously, expecting wings and feathers and orange brilliance. Instead, I find myself back on the table, my husband’s hand still holding mine.  He looks questioningly into my eyes and I smile through the searing heat of the needle still working lines into my skin.

My life’s journey, forever engraved on my thigh. It’s a story and a wish; my promise to myself to always love me because I’m fucking worth it.